(06/03/23) Argentina men and New Zealand women secured HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series gold in Vancouver on Sunday.
Los Pumas Sevens’ victory over Les Bleues marks their second cup title of the season, and back-to-back wins at BC Place after claiming gold in 2022 as well.
After seven events in the 2023 season, Argentina now sit in second place behind New Zealand, with just 12 points separating the two nations.
Santiago Gómez Cora, Los Pumas Sevens’ coach, said, “I can’t believe it. My dream was to try to be competitive and be in the top six for this season and we are in second position. We are here and I cannot believe it. I dreamed it seven years ago when I started to pick players from 16 years old and tried to develop that kind of player and now you have the reality. We love Vancouver, we love this city and playing in America.”
Argentina men and New Zealand women secured HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series gold in Vancouver on Sunday
In the women’s final, the New Zealand Black Ferns avenged last year’s Canada Sevens loss at the hands of Australia. And, having won four consecutive tournaments this season, the Black Ferns became the first women’s team to officially book their ticket to Paris 2024 and will join France, who automatically qualify as hosts.
The win was the Black Ferns’ 24th in a row, with their last defeat happening in the first round in Dubai.
“I’m absolutely so happy to have performed the way that we did. It’s always hard against Australia and the way that they play. It’s really cliché, but I’m really proud of our girls,” said Sarah Hirini, New Zealand Black Ferns Captain. “Qualifying for Paris 2024 was our goal for the season but to do that to early is kind of nice. Our coaches let us celebrate when we found out, but it was about winning the tournament and seeing if we can finish the season off. We were pretty gutted we didn’t take the World Series home last year and we want to take that home now.”
In the bronze medal matches, USA women and Australia men defeated France and Ireland respectively to finish on the podium and earn points.
The 2023 Series is continuing to be the most competitive in history with the prize of Olympic Games Paris 2024 qualification on offer for the top four women’s and men’s teams in the 2023 Series standings, while hosts France have pre-qualified for next summer’s pinnacle event in the nation’s capital.
The stakes couldn’t be higher at the bottom end of the men’s Series this season as well. Following the penultimate event in Toulouse, the 15th ranked team will be relegated to the 2024 Sevens Challenger Series while the 12th through 14th ranked teams will face off against the Sevens Challenger Series 2023 winner for the 12th and final position on the 2024 Series.
The men’s and women’s teams will now break for three weeks before meeting at the end of the month for the next round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 in Hong Kong on 31 March to 1 April and the pools have been confirmed.
In the men’s competition, Vancouver champions Argentina slot into Pool A alongside Fiji, Samoa and Canada while France headline Pool B with Great Britain, Uruguay and hosts Hong Kong China. HSBC Canada Sevens bronze medallists Australia will face off against USA, Spain and Japan in Pool C while Ireland will meet Series leaders New Zealand, Kenya and South Africa in Pool D.
The women’s pools see Series leaders New Zealand in Pool A alongside Canada, Great Britain and invitational team Hong Kong China in Pool A. Vancouver runners-up Australia will take on Fiji, Ireland and Brazil in Pool B while Pool C sees USA, who have medalled at every event this year, with France, Japan and Spain.